Florida school shooting starts fire alarm controversy – plus a firefighter’s solution

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After the gunman in Florida used the school’s fire alarm system to lure his victims into the open, a sheriff in Ohio came out with a Facebook message (below) urging schools to rethink fire drills. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says with no school fire deaths in 50 years, but many deaths by gunfire, “We don’t need the fire drills we have.”

Some fire officials in Kentucky when told about this say not so fast (see story above). They don’t want students and teachers ignoring fire alarms.

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A few hours before seeing this story, longtime reader and retired Baltimore County firefighter Mike Rehfeld called me about the product he’s been working on with another former firefighter and police officer over the last five years. It’s called Active Intruder Mitigation Systems (AIMS) and addresses a building’s fire alarm.

Using an acoustic gunshot detector – similar to what is in place on the streets in many cities – the system immediately takes a variety of actions on the sound of a weapon firing or if manually activated. Besides bolting doors, alerting police, activating cameras and even pumping fog into the area where the shooter is located, Mike says the system can disable the manual pull stations for a school’s fire alarm system, leaving the actual alarm and sprinkler system still functional. According to Mike, AIMS conforms to all current life safety codes, including the ability to still push to exit from inside safe rooms.

You can read more about AIMS here and see it in action in the video below.

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